Thursday, January 31, 2008

Day One - RoadTrip '08!

The day finally arrived! The camper was packed, the cat vacuumed, propane full, fuel full, tires checked, fridge loaded, snow brushed off. At the end of the work day we were to be headed west to put in a few miles before the day was done. But it was not to be :-(

Work interfered - in more ways than one. I got called out the night before to a gruesome wreck on the highway, just a kilometre down the road from home - the Fire Department requesting assistance. Four loaded semi-trucks had come together head-on, with disastrous results. It might as well have been a roadside bomb in Iraq; I'm sure the results look the same. It took about a half hour on scene just to figure out how many trucks were involved. Tangled, twisted metal, freight, wheels, clothing, tarps, frames. Engines sitting on pavement, ripped right out of the frame. And everything covered in diesel fuel and snow. Fortunately, there was no fire. It took over 4 hours to cut one driver free, and only after a huge crane was brought in to lift some of the wreckage, and another victim was not found till morning.Firefighters struggle to free one of the drivers, but other victims still remain missing. Even our search dog could not find them under tons of wreckage, snow, and diesel fuel.
One of the more intact trucks, in the harsh light of day - when most of the wreckage has been removed and hauled away.

The highway was closed, of course and it remained closed all the next day as lines of other trucks formed to cart all the pieces away. Flat decks, dump trucks, loaders, forklifts, and heavy tow trucks worked all day, but still the highway was not opened up when I had planned to hit the road. Having only managed two or three hours sleep, we decided that we did not wish to join the race with 500 more trucks who had been stuck on the roadside for over 20 hours waiting for the road to re-open.
So, better safe than sorry, it is one more night at home before the fearless feline and I head out to seek adventure - and warmth!
We are hoping to make it to the big RV show in Chilliwack or Abottsford for tomorrow nite.
Drive carefully and - slow down!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

The countdown is on!

The reality of departure from this frozen, but beautiful land just got a bit closer today.

This is my last set of days off before the end of the month, and I had to take advantage of the relatively nice day to finally get the camper back where it belongs - on my truck!

Although sunny, the temperatures were a bit on the brisk side, and hot water had to be applied to the camper jacks to get the hydraulic fluid fluid enough to raise the camper.

I took my truck in after shovelling and chipping the snow out of the box and relegating the sand bags to the basement -hopefully till next fall - and gave it a good wash.

After loading the camper, I took it for a little test-drive to see how much of the snow could be blown off the roof. At least I won't have to shovel it any more. If it does snow before my departure, a short drive should take care of any fresh white stuff.

I will take great pleasure in watching the remainder melt off as soon as I am close to the coast.

A scenic shot for you taken just outside Lake Louise. This is some of the scenery I have to deal with on a daily basis on my 2km commute to work!Just so this entire post is not photos of the truck and camper, I thought I would include one of a prowler I caught checking out the hot tub one day recently. We had seen a number of tracks around, but just weren't sure who was making them. So, I grabbed a camera from work, and soon had the perpetrator identified.

And then there was the cat. He was trying to explain to me that we did not have any more cans of his favourite anti-diabetes cat food left. So he hopped into the box to show how empty it really was!

He has his favourite toys and catnip all packed ready to leave. I think he is looking forward to being outside again and having some green grass to munch on.
Till later.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Time sure flies around the end of the year and the start of a new one, but there has not been much to pass on here - at least not much that I can show the photos of.
I came back to work on Boxing day and was greeted by a four vehicle head-on collision; the next day was a simple roll-over; the next day a head-on collision at the same spot as the roll-over; and the next day was a double fatal head-on collision. So you see - no pics.

Then we spent a couple days out on the snowmachines checking out some back country cabins. I 'may' have taken some blackmail photos of someone else's machine in certain 'encounters' with terrain and vegetation, but alas, I was bribed well not to show them.

There were a couple more unfortunate collisions that I can show the photos of. Sadly, a couple of moose did not survive their night on the highway. The cow was picked up dead one night, and the next morning her calf met the same fate. The carcasses were saved to feed bears in the spring when they are used to keep the bears away from populated areas.

We did get another big dump of snow early in the new year. It was a surprise to wake up in the morning and find another 20-30cm of snow in the yard.

This contributed to some pretty nice wintery scenes in the area.

Of course this also served to increase the avalanche hazard again in the area.
I was on days off in the city when a young local man died in an avalanche on a mountain within view of the village. I was not aware of it till I was reading the newspaper the next morning having a coffee in town. Then I spotted at reporter in a CTV jacket just before the Global TV Uplink truck pulled up.

Across the street was the CBC satellite truck.

Another elk met it's end this morning while dining on spilled grain in the rail yards in Field, B.C.
It was also saved for spring time bear feeding with the moose.

Harley did not consent to any new video this week, saying that his writers were on strike.
But he does seem headed for more fame and fortune after we discovered that he has been featured in an international (?) e-tourism web site called the Jasper Journal! Check out the link.

Extra: Almost forgot to mention that the packing and organizing has started for our departure for the official RoadTrip '08 which is scheduled to start at the end of this month. Counting down the days!